Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pictures from Orioles series & other information

First off let me start off by saying I have been slacking for the last two series.  But, let me say nothing major happened against the lackluster teams of the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros.

Alex Rodriguez was forced to come out of the season finale against the Orioles due to what he called a sore groin.  It was later diagnosed as tendentious in his right hip flexor, the same side in which Rodriguez had surgery on his right hip last season.  Consequently Arod sat out the entire Houston series and skipped the series opener against the Phillies on Monday.  Rodriguez returned last night to the game as the designated hitter.  It is not known when he will take the field.

In the Houston series, a Yankees sweep, Jorge Posada returned to catching and his stroke returned on the offensive side of the ball, hitting two grand slams in two games.  Phil Hughes also earned his ninth win of the season on Saturday.  Andy Pettitte also continued his masterful season, earning his eighth win.  With his start against the Astros on Friday, Pettitte can now boast that he's pitched against every team in the Major Leagues except of course for the New York Yankees.

Now I'll leave this post with some pictures I personally took at Camden Yards, when Phil Hughes beat the Orioles last Tuesday.  The final score of the game ended up being 12-7.  The highlight of the game was when New York scored six runs in the seventh inning.

So as promised here are the pictures.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blue Jays take two of three from Yankees

Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
Location: Rogers Center, Toronto, Canada
Yankees Overall Record: 35-22
Series LVP: Mark Teixeira (see below)
Quote of the series: comes from Joe Girardi on Mark Teixeira's struggles throughout the season.
“I think sometimes when you see players of Tex’s caliber, you think it’s easy,” Girardi said. “It’s not easy. It’s tough, and you go through physical battles. You go through mental battles. There’s a lot of things you have to fight through. When a guy like Tex is where he’s at right now, we’re all a little bit surprised because we haven’t seen it, but it happens.”
The trip to Toronto,  the first series the two teams have played against each other all season, was rather unforgettable for the Bombers

On Friday, AJ Burnett had his first truly bad start of the season since the Boston series in early April.  Burnett could not seem to get anyone out, allowing six runs in six innings.  Compared to his last start in which he had zero walks, Burnett had four, which for him is still pretty remarkable.  Unfortunately when his pitches missed, he paid severely.  The majority of the runs that were given up were via home run.  Toronto leads the league in home runs, so it was not that big of a surprise.  As for the offense, the Yankees would have been better leaving their bats behind in New York.  Rookie Brett Cecil held the Yankees to just one innings, which is pretty amazing considering the offense came off the dismal pitching staff of the Orioles.

Saturday's game, a 14-inning affair, came down to the battle of the bullpens between the two teams.  Unfortunately for the Yankees, they wasted another phenomenal start by starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, denying him his eighth victory of the year.  Pettitte pitched into the eighth inning once again and allowed just two runs.  He struck out ten, which he hasn't done in many many years and lowered his earned run average to 2.47.  The only offense of the day came via a Derek Jeter two-run home run.  The Toronto pitching staff was able to keep the Yankees from scoring again, which wasn't too difficult, as New York could not seem to string together hits when men were on base.  Chad Gaudin eventually gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning.

Sunday's game brought the Bomber's first win of the series while also allowing the offense to score more then two runs.  Javier Vazquez finally got his record back to .500 by earning his fifth win of the season.  Vazquez had one of his best games, going five innings and allowed only two runs, while striking out nine.  Joba Chamberlain returned to his role of the  MIA eighth inning relief man, and allowed one run in just a third of an inning.  Manager Joe Girardi was thrown out in the eighth inning for arguing a third called strike call against right fielder Nick Swisher.  In that same inning, second baseman Robinson Cano hit the go ahead two run single.  The team was held scoreless before the eighth inning, when Brett Gardner scored on a wild pitch and Derek Jeter also hit a RBI double.  Mariano Rivera earned his 14th save of the season.

So who was the biggest goat of the series?  None other then Mark Teixeira, the first baseman who has not been able to hit anything this season. Teixeira had many opportunities to pick up his team throughout the series when there were runners on base but, like the majority of the season he couldn't come up with the big hit.  Teixeira had one of his roughest games of the year on Saturday, by going 0-5 with five strikeouts.  Girardi needs to seriously considering moving Teixeira out of the three-hole until he can find his swing.  Seriously what is the point of having a hitter in the three hole strikeout every time before the clean up hitter, Alex Rodriguez can even make it up to the plate?

Next Up: The Yankees head to Baltimore for a three game series against the Orioles.  I will personally be seeing Phil Hughes pitch against Kevin Millwood tomorrow!

Friday, June 4, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Eiland takes leave of absence

Before tonight's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that pitching coach Dave Eiland is taking an indefinite leave of absence.  It is unknown why Eiland is taking the absence.  Girardi was really broad and only gave the following information.
“Dave Eiland took a personal leave of absence,” Girardi said. “He’ll be gone as long as he needs. That’s all I’m going to share.”
This could be killer to the Yankee pitching staff who have one of the best in the league.  Bullpen coach Mike Harkey will fill the void that Eiland is creating via his absence.

It is also unknown if Eiland traveled with the team to Canada.

Here's hoping for everything to be okay for Eiland and his family. We hope to see you out there soon Dave!

Yankees sweep O's for second time this season

Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY.
Yankees Overall Record: 34-20
Series MVP: The Yankee offense who made the Baltimore pitching staff pay for their mistakes
Quotes of the series: comes from Nick Swisher on Robinson Cano's inability to make an out.
“I think we’re all just trying to keep pace with him,” Swisher said. “It’s been special to watch. Guys are looking at each other in the dugout saying, ‘Let’s see how hard he hits this one.’”
The Yankees continued their dominance against the lowly Baltimore Orioles with their second consecutive sweep of the O's this season.

Tuesday night's game allowed Javier Vazquez to earn his second win in his last three starts.  Vazquez took advantage of the dismal Orioles offense.  He allowed just one run in seven innings, earning his fourth victory of the year.  The offense was led by Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson.  Cano and Jeter each had two hits a piece and Granderson hit his second home run since returning from the disabled list.  The final score of the game was 3-1. The only down side to the game was an injury to Mark Teixeira, who had to leave the game after fouling a ball off of his foot.  Although it was not serious because he was in the lineup for Wednesday's game.

Wednesday's game belonged to two Yankees who are having very special seasons; starting pitcher Phil Hughes and second baseman Cano.  Hughes pitched seven very effective innings, allowing only one run while striking out seven.  He lowered his earned run average to 2.54.  With the way Hughes has pitched this season, he is the second best pitcher in the rotation right now, behind only Andy Pettitte.  On the offensive side of the ball, Cano led the way with three hits, one of which a home run, his 12th of the year.  Cano's average sits at an outstanding .372, which believe it or not is second in the league.  Nick Swisher also had three hits while continuing to show he's improved his swing to get on base more.  Last season he hit around .260 and now he's currently hitting .320, which would be a career high for Swisher.  The Yankees won the game with a score of 9-1.

Thursday's game was played in the afternoon, as both teams had to leave town.  CC Sabathia won for the first time in five starts allowing three runs over seven innings.  He would have been able to go another inning if not for the unbearable humid temperatures.  The offense was led by Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner who both hit home runs.  Rodriguez, is now the all time active home run leader following the retirement of the Mariner's Ken Griffey Jr on Wednesday.  Joba Chamberlain was able to hold the lead and turned the ball over to Mariano Rivera who earned his 12th save of the season.

Next Up: The Yankees head north to Toronto for a three game series.  This will be the first time the two teams meet this season.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dear Mr. Commissioner

To Mr. Alan H. "Bud" Selig, Commissioner of Baseball,

Hey Bud. How are you doing?  Fancy a chat about the current situation of the umpires in your league, Major League Baseball?

No Chat?

How about some criticism or ways to improve the current situation.

First let's refresh your memory of everything that's happened regarding your umpires over the past month alone.

It all started in Chicago.  The White Sox were playing the Cleveland Indians.  Chicago Ace Mark Buehrle was called for a balk in the first inning, a feat that is rarely, if ever called on Buehrle.  Who made that call?

Everybody's favorite umpire, Joe West.  Now you may recall West's comments at the beginning of the season about the Yankees-Red Sox, the two biggest revenue-generating teams in your leauge.

Anyways back to Chicago.  Following the first balk, Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager came out to argue the call and was then tossed from the game, though not a shock to anyone.

Two innings later Buehrle was called for another balk.  He then tossed his glove in disgust with West's call and was then tossed from the game.  Funny thing is, Buehrle never actually committed a balk on either condition.  Major League Baseball is supposedly "investigating" the incident.  We still haven't heard what's going on with that situation.

The second major incident happened Memorial Day weekend in Texas.  In a game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals, another umpire committed a major blunder. Astros ace, Roy Oswalt was displeased with the way one of his pitches was called in the third inning.  Oswalt felt he threw a strike but his pitch was called a ball.  Oswalt then yelled something towards the first baseline.

Home plate umpire Bill Hohn asked him what he said.  Oswalt replied "I aint talking to you".  And then Hohn lost his cool and tossed Oswalt.  No explanation was given to Oswalt's ejection.  It almost seemed like Hohn was actually jealous of Oswalt's popularity and wanted a piece of the spotlight himself.

And finally we come to the BIGGEST blunder of them all.

We all know the story by now but here you go Selig, just so you can ponder how to "fix" the situation, although I don't know if that's possible.

Tigers stater Armando Galarraga had a perfect game through 8 2/3 innings.  He appeared to get the final out of the game on a ground ball to the hole between first and second.  The throw clearly beat the runner, even to the naked eye.

Umpire Jim Joyce made a mistake which after the game he admitted to.  The Tigers handled the situation with class and claimed Galarraga still had a perfect game in their eyes.  Galarraga and manager Jim Leyland did not blame Joyce but still wishes the call went the other way.  The only problem is in the record books he doesn't.  Joyce later apologized to the Tigers.  Here's what he said after the game.
"I just cost that kid a perfect game,'' Joyce said. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.''
"It was the biggest call of my career,'' said Joyce.
Now Mr. Selig, you have one of the last biggest tasks of your career to take care of before you retire.
What to do with this situation?  Many believe you should overturn the call and give Galarraga the perfect game. 
The only problem with that is where does it stop?  Will everyone get to appeal plays they know are wrong only after seeing instant replay? 
Here's my solution to fix the situation we have brewing with the umpires.
First, find some new umpires.  Many of the umpires that we have now in the league have been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Bring in new umpires.  Fresh young eyes in the game could make a huge difference.  
Plus this way we can get rid of the ones who like to complain like cowboy Joe West. 
Second, regarding instant replay.  Don't allow it!  Keep it the way it is by only allowing it for home runs.  Let's face it baseball games are already long enough, we don't need another 10 minutes added on to each reviewed call.  One of the greatest things about baseball is it's an all or nothing call live on the field.  If a mistake happens, the players have the ability to work around the calls on the field.  
Finally, have a talk with the umpires and remind them that the fans pay to see the players on the field, not the umpires.  Sometimes the umpires get a little to caught up in themselves (West and Hohn) and don't remember that people pay money to see people like Buehrle and Oswalt pitch.  
So Bud you have a lot of work to do.  Get to work and come up with a solution fast!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Yankees take three of four from Indians

Opponent: Cleveland Indians
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY.
Yankees Overall Record: 31-20
Series MVP: third baseman Alex Rodriguez
Honorable Mention: Andy Pettitte
Quote of the Series: comes from manager Joe Girardi on the team's overall performance in the month of May
"Obviously you would've loved to have a better record in the month of May," Girardi said. "But 29 games in 31 days, some split doubleheaders, suspended games — we went through a lot. We went through some injuries. I thought our guys just kept going at it, and I'm proud of them for that."
The Yankees returned home from Minnesota and got back to winning ways in the Bronx.  The mediocre pitching staff of the Indians and the resurgence of the Yankees pitching staff was quite the dose of medicine the Bronx Bombers needed.

Friday's game allowed the Yankees offense to break out for the first time in a little more then a week.  The offense scored eight runs in an 8-2 victory.  Phil Hughes was once again masterful and allowed two earned runs, while lowering his earn-run average to 2.70, second to only Andy Pettitte.  Hughes earned his sixth win of the season while striking out eight.  Curtis Granderson returned from the disabled list and was in centerfield for the first time in over a month. To make room for Granderson on the roster, veteran Randy Winn was designated for assignment.

Saturday's game was rather unforgettable.  CC Sabathia was a bit wild once again.  Although he did have to sit through a lengthy delay in the third inning as Indians starter David Huff had to be attended to after taking a liner from Alex Rodriguez off of his head.  Huff was sent to the hospital and was back by the eighth inning.  But Sabathia gave up five runs in six innings.  His ERA stands at 4.16, much higher then normal.  The biggest culprit in Saturday's game though was reliever Joba Chamberlain.  Chamberlain allowed four runs in 1/3 of an inning.  The Yankees lost Saturday's game with a final score of 13-10

In Sunday's game AJ Burnett pitched eight masterful innings allowing three runs, only one earned, and had eight strikeouts.  Burnett's biggest strength of the day was he had no walks, which almost never happens.  (This is the guy who pitched a no hitter and had around nine walks in the same game.)  The offense broke out and scored seven runs.  Mark Teixeira  hit his eighth home run of the season.  Mariano Rivera came in in the ninth to pick up another save on the season.

Finally, Monday's game belonged to two people. Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte.  A rejuvenated Pettitte pitched seven innings and allowed only one run.  Oh did I mention he's 38 years old? The fact that Pettitte has been around for 15 years and still manages to rake up wins and have the second lowest ERA in the league at 2.48 in amazing.  Rodriguez hit his second grand slam of the season, and 20th all time after Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked in the seventh inning.  Rodriguez hits virtually everything in site after Teixeira is intentionally walked before he goes up to bat.  Hopefully opposing managers won't read those statistics.  Derek Jeter also had two hits in the game in the Yankees 7-2 victory.

Next Up: The Yankees are in the middle of a three game set with the Baltimore Orioles.